The Latest on Kids And Screens

Parenting is no easy task in today's culture.  

According to Pew Research, 75% of parents in the U.S. say parenting is harder today than it was 20 years ago, with many citing technologies - like smartphones or social media - as a big reason why.

A big point of debate is how much screen time kids should be allowed to view each day.

While a majority of parents with a young child say they are very (39%) or somewhat confident (45%) in knowing the appropriate amount of screen time for their child, they are also seeking out advice from others. 

Some 61% of parents of a child age 11 or younger say they have received advice or information about screen time from a doctor or other medical professional and 55% say the same about other parents, while 45% of parents of a child age 5 to 11 have turned to teachers for help.

The concerns come at a time when it's a common thing for children to engage with digital devices. 

  • 80% of parents say their child age 5 to 11 uses or interacts with a tablet computer.
  • 63% of parents say the same about smartphones. 

YouTube has become a big part of screen time.

  • 1 billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day.  
  • The platform has over 2 billion users. 
  • 80% of all parents with a child age 11 or younger say their child watches videos on YouTube.
  • 53% say that their child does this daily.
  • 35% say this happens several times a day.
  • 89% of parents of a child ages 5 to 11 say their child watches videos on YouTube. 
  • 81% of parents of a child ages 3 to 4 say their child watches videos on YouTube.
  • 57% of parents of a child ages 2 and under say their child watches videos on YouTube.
  • 97% of parents say YouTube keeps their children entertained.
  • 88% believe it helps them learn new things. 
  • 75% say it exposes their child to different cultures.

There are several reasons that parents say it's harder to parent than in the past. 

  • The impact of digital technology (26%).
  • The rise of social media (21%).
  • How access to technology exposes children to things at a young age (14%). 
  • Other commonly cited reasons for parenting growing more difficult include changing morals and values and the costs associated with raising a child.

When should children be allowed to have their own smartphone?  Most parents believe the ages of 12 to 14 is an acceptable age.  

When should children be allowed to have a tablet like an iPad?  Parents are more accepting of children having one at a younger age.  65% of parents say it is acceptable for children to have a tablet before the age of 12.

Parents are concerned about the impact that smartphones could have on children’s interpersonal skills. 

71% of parents say the use of smartphones by children age 11 or younger will hurt their ability to learn effective social skills a lot or a little, while a similar share says the same about developing healthy friendships. 

Just over half of parents think these devices will hurt children’s ability to do well in school, while parents are more evenly split when it comes to how smartphones will impact children’s ability to be creative or pursue their hobbies and interests. 

 Many parents limit how long their child can use screens.  They also use "digital grounding" when needed.

  • 86% limit the time of day or length of time.
  • 80% take away their child's access to technology for punishment.
  • 75% check out their child's websites and viewing habits.
  • 72% use parental controls to restrict online viewing when needed.
  • 49% check their child's text messages or call records.
  • 33% track their child's location through GPS apps.
  • 28% follow their child through a friend request or social media access.

Distracted parenting.

Many parents admit that there own phones can led to distracted parenting.  

  • 56% of parents say they spend too much time on their own smartphone.
  • 68% say they sometimes feel distracted by their phone when spending time with their kids. 
  • 36% say they spend too much time on social media.
  • 11% say they spend too much time playing video games.

What devices are kids engaging with?

  • television
  • tablet
  • smartphone
  • desktop or laptop
  • gaming device 

Over a third of parents with a child under the age of 12 say their child began interacting with a smart phone by the age of 5.  

20% of parents with a child younger than 12 say their child has their own smartphone.

Here are the big reasons most parents say their child has a smartphone.

  • 78% - makes it easier for their child to contact them.
  • 73% - easier to get hold of my child. 
  • 25% - something to keep them entertainer.
  • 9% - to do home work.
  • 6% - because their friends have one.
70% of parents think smartphones bring more harm than good.  71% believe the potential harm outweighs the potential benefits.
  • 71% believe it hinders kids from learning effective social skills.
  • 68% believe it helps kids develop healthy friendships.
  • 54 % believe it helps their child do well in school.
  • 46% believe it hinders their child's creativity.
  • 45% believe it hinders their hobbies and interests.
Protecting children online.  98% of parents say they have the responsibility in protecting their children from inappropriate online content.  The majority of parents say they know what their child is watching, playing or doing online.